Tuesday 29 November 2011

Fruit Pastry Cupcake

          I just love the look & taste of this cake. It looks pretty & the orange-flavour cake is just so irresistible. For sure this is not going to be the last time I'm baking it. I understand that it was very popular among bloggers at  one time, long before I was a blogger. Among those who've tried baking it include Baking MumHappy Home Baking  & Small Small Baker.  

          Instead of baking a whole cake, I've used this recipe to bake my Fruit Pastry Cupcakes. It makes about 6 large cupcakes.

I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min's Blog.

Fruit Pastry Cupcake
500g fruits (apricots, peaches, pears, cherries, plums, orange, pineapple, or any other fruit not too juicy) - I used canned peaches, fresh blueberries & strawberries.
2 tbsp sugar

100g butter, soften at room temperature
200g castor sugar
50g sour cream
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon or orange zest (I used orange.)
210g plain flour (sifted together with baking powder.)
1 tsp baking powder

  1. Wash,  drain & cut (chunks or slices, as desired) fruits. Sprinkle with sugar, toss & set aside.
  2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  3. Cream butter, sugar and sour cream till light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, & beat till incorporated in the batter. (If the mixture appears curdled, add a spoon of the flour.)
  5. Add vanilla extract and orange zest. Mix to combine.
  6. Fold in flour & baking powder & mix till smooth.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liner & smooth out the top with a spatula.
  8. Arrange fruits on top. Don’t press the fruits too hard into the batter. Decorate the fruits as desired.
  9. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  10. Remove cupcake pans from oven. Leave cakes to cool in the pans for about 5-10 mins. Remove cakes from pans & transfer to wire rack & leave to cool completely. Dust cakes with some icing sugar if desired.

Monday 28 November 2011

Well done & Happy birthday!

           How time flies. It's already the second week of the school holidays. Have I done what I've planned to do? A bit, but I can do better! Last week was an eventful week, though. The Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) results were released! All my pupils cleared their papers...phew! My son, Amir, did well too!
        It's been a few years since I witnessed the release of the PSLE results. That afternoon, my son's principal started out by  addressing the sea of anxious parents, tense children & stony-faced teachers in the school hall. He started out with reporting the performance of the school. Not bad at all......everything is above the national level! Then the announcement of the highest score for the school, which was flashed on the screen. Waah........And then, when the name of the holder of that most-envied number was flashed up, she jumped & jumped & jumped for joy! I'm referring to the girl's mother. She ran to her daughter & hugged the cool-looking but clearly elated girl. And then the eyes turned teary. Those were mine. Haay.........when will I stop being so emotional....? It's not even my child! I guess I'm just so happy for the girl & her mother even if she's not mine. It's all right...I still have one more chance. Perhaps in three years time, I'll be able to shed my tears of joy because my son is the top student in the school. Insyaallah....
           Then the principal started reading out from the screen the names of other high scorers. Amir's not one of them. Hmm..... By then, there was some excitement as the standing parents tiptoed while those sitting down, parents & pupils, raised their heads to check the names on the list. At that point, I wished the boss could just wrap up quickly as I was becoming more anxious. I was sure the rest of us was too...
         When Amir received his result slip from his teacher & took a peek at it,  I could see a wide-eyed excitement on his face. And finally, it was my turn to take a look. Phew..... quite a decent number... What a relief! And that's the end of the first chapter. The next chapter will be the secondary school posting results. That will be in 3 week's time....Hopefully, Amir will get his first choice. Otherwise, the second choice is a pretty decent school too.
          On a lighter note, I baked the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake on Saturday as it was Amirah's 20th birthday. Happy birthday Mira!   

           Recently, I saw this cake on Rima's blog. It looked so delicious that I just have to try it. What better time to bake this..... It's very delicious! The sponge cake is moist & soft & the frosting tastes like vanilla ice-cream. Yummy......

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake 
Inspired by Rima.
Cotton cake recipe by Ricke Indriani.
Stabilised whipping cream recipe by Fujimama.

Cotton Cake
145g low protein flour (cake flour)
15g corn flour
1 egg
5 egg yolks - whisk lightly with folk
150g unsalted butter
65g fresh milk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (I added.)

5 egg white
100g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp.)

  1. Preheat oven 160 deg C. Grease & line a 7 or 8 " baking pan. Wrap bottom of baking pan with aluminium.
  2. Heat butter & milk till warm. Do not let it boil. Switch off heat & add in sifted flour & cornflour, mix using wooden spatula.
  3. Transfer to a bigger bowl & add in eggs. Continue to mix till smooth.
  4. In another bowl, whisk egg white till frothy. Add in salt & sugar in 3 additions. Whisk till soft peak.
  5. Pour 1/3 egg white mixture into egg/buttter mixture. Fold in gently. Pour in the rest & continue to mix gently ( Same manner as when baking chiffon cake.).
  6. Pour batter into baking pan & bake it using au bain marie method for about 45 minutes.
Stabilised whipped cream
2 tsp gelatin powder
8 tsp cold water
2 cup whipping cream, cold
1/2 cup icing sugar
1tsp vanilla

  1. Chill mixing bowl & beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Put cold water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over surface of water & let stand for 5 minutes. 
  3. Place saucepan over low heat & stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until gelatin dissolves. Remove saucepan from heat & cool to room temperature.
  4. Remove mixing bowl & beaters from freezer.  Combine whipping cream, sugar & vanilla in  the cold mixing bowl & whip until slightly thickened. Gradually pour gelatin into whipped cream mixture, beating slowly. Then whip mixture at high speed untill slightly stiff.
Simple sugar syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

  1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar & water. Bring water to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
250g punnet strawberries

  1. Reserve a handful of strawberries (the prettiest ones!) for decorating top of cake. Dice remaining strawberries into small cubes. Macerate them in a little sugar & set aside.
  2. Slice sponge cake horizontally into three layers.
  3. Place one sponge layer cut-side up on a cakeboard & slightly brush cake surface with sugar syrup.
  4. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over cake layer & arrange strawberry cubes over the surface. 
  5. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the strawberries. Brush cut-side of second layer with the simple syrup & place it over first layer. Frost sides & top with remaining whipped cream. 
  6. Repeat with third layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of cream overtop of cake & return to fridge to chill for thirty minutes.
  7. Using leftover cream, pipe cream as decoration. Chill in fridge for cream to set for an hour or so. Garnish with reserved strawberries (sliced in halves.).

Tuesday 22 November 2011

A taste from my home........

          I used to subscribe to a magazine called Taste of Home back in the US. It started with a free copy  sent to our address by the  distributor. I liked it so much that I decided to subscribe to it. Besides the recipes contributed by people all over the country, the magazine also features other segments which I find as interesting if not more interesting than the recipes. Among my favourites is the segment  "Am I Glad We Stopped At....." where it guides readers to great rural restaurants and country cafes discovered by the editors & readers. Another favourite is the 'I Wish I Had That Recipe....' segment in which the magazine helps readers to get the recipes from any restaurants & cafes which they've been to. The highlight of this magazine is the national recipe contest in which readers from all over the country submit their recipes based on a particular theme. Today's recipe is from an issue which had berries as the theme. Over 3000 recipes were submitted & the judges awarded Patricia Walls the grand prize for her Blueberry French Toast recipe.

           I've made this pudding many times but this is the first time I used brioche instead of white bread. The pudding turned out slightly dry, not sure if it was because of the type of bread or maybe I overestimated the amount of  bread I should use since a slice of my brioche is smaller than a slice of a typical white bread. That's all right because it is still delicious!

Blueberry French Toast
Recipe by Patricia Walls from Taste of Home (June / July 1996)


  • 12 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed (I used Brioche & I retained the crusts.)
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 12 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups 2% milk (I used full cream milk.)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (I used honey.)


  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Method:
    1. Cut bread into 1-in. cubes & place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cut cream cheese into 1-inch cubes & place over bread. Top with blueberries and remaining bread cubes.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and syrup. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
    3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350°F (180deg C) for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
    4. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in blueberries; reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until berries have burst. Stir in butter until melted. Serve with French toast. Yield: 6-8 servings (1-3/4 cups sauce).

    Monday 21 November 2011

    After more than a decade......

                Good afternoon everyone! Today is officially the first day of the school holidays for the primary school  kids  here in Singapore. Theoretically, with the holidays, I would have more time to complete my long list of things to do. But very often, a lot of unplanned errands & requests cropped up because "mummy is free"! Guess I need to plan this  holidays carefully so that it'll be a productive one......we'll see.......

                    I've been baking quite a bit these past weeks but I've not managed to post the recipes & pictures. More than a week ago, I baked a few loaves of  Brioche. I used the recipe by Dorie Greenspan from Baking With Julia. I bought this book more than a decade ago when  I was living in the US. It was one of the numerous visits to one of the numerous second hand book stores in town, while waiting for my other half slowly looking through his books, I headed to the cooking section. The thing that attracted my attention was the sign that said, "50% off all cooking books"! Why did I choose this book? Must be the picture on the cover & the fact that it is hard cover. Since at that time, I didn't really appreciate  Julia Child's popularity among the Americans, I don't think she was the reason I bought the book. I also didn't know who Dorie Greenspan was. But  I'm glad I bought the book! Only a year or two later did I realise how  well-respected & popular they are in the baking & cooking arena. Glad I made the impulsive purchase too as I paid only US$12 (about SG$20 at that time)!

                Anyway, I've looked through this book a few times & bookmarked some pages (as usual....) but never got down to using any of the recipes. Recently, I looked through it again, carefully scrutinising the pages, reminding me of  my school days! I've rebookmarked some pages & finally, after more than a decade, I made its Brioche!

                This is not my first time making Brioche. The first few times I made this was during the Bread-Making Course at BITC. I totally can't recall how it tasted but I do remember I didn't like making it because, for a bread, I thought it used too much butter & eggs. Well, times have changed, I'm wiser & more open-minded now as far cooking & baking are concerned. I realise now, even in this field, I need to look at things in perspective.....
              Greenspan wrote that Brioche is a cross between bread & pastry. But it really tastes more a bread than a pastry. It's really a rich bread although it doesn't taste as rich as I thought it would be. The  next time I make this, I would add more salt or I'd use salted butter instead to enhance the flavour.


    Recipe by Dorie Greenspan from Baking With Julia.

    1/3 cup warm whole milk (37-43 deg C)
    2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast.
    1 large egg
    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( I used Gold Medal.)

    1. Put the milk, yeast, egg & 1 cup of the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.
    2. Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula, mixing just until everything is blended. Sprinkle over the remaining cup of flour over the sponge.
    3. Set the sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes. After this resting time, the flour coating will crack, your indication that everything is moving along properly.
    The dough
    1/3 cup up sugar
    1 tsp kosher salt (I used regular salt. I'll add more the next time.)
    4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
    1 1/2 cup ( approximately) unbleached all-purpose flour 
    1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter

    1. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge.
    2. Set in the mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients look as if they are about to come together.
    3. Still mixing, sprinkle in 1/2 cup more flour.
    4. When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the hook and bowl as needed.
    5. During this mixing period, the dough should come together, wrap itself around the hook and slap the sides of the bowl.
    6. In order to incorporate the butter into the dough, you must work the butter until it is the same consistency as the dough.
    7. You can bash the butter into submission with a rolling pin or give it kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit by bit across a smooth work surface.
    8. When it is ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool- not warm, oily or greasy.
    9. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.
    10. This is the point at which you'll think you've made a huge mistake, because the dough that you worked so hard to make smooth will fall apart- don't worry, don't panic- carry on.
    11. When all of the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce the speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 minutes, or until you once again hear the dough slapping against the sides of the bowl.
    12. Clean the sides of the bowl frequently as you work; if it looks as though the dough is not coming together after 2-3 minutes, add up to 1 tablespoon more flour.
    13. When you're finished, the dough should feel somewhat cool.
    14. It will be soft and sill sticky and may cling slightly to the sides and bottom of the bowl.
    15. FIRST RISE: Transfer the dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2- 2 1/2 hours.
    16. SECOND RISE AND CHILL: Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl.
    17. Work your way around the circumference of the dough, lifting and releasing.
    18. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours, during which time it will continue to rise and may double in size again.
    19. After the long chill, the dough is ready to use in any brioche recipe.

    1. Butter three 81/2- by 41/2- by 21/2-inch loave pans. Set aside. (I used two 81/2 x 41/2 x 21/2 & one  8x8 inch pans & divided the dough accordingly.)
    2. Divide the dough into thirds.
    3. Divide each section into 6 equal pieces (I divided into 3 for small & 6 for large pan.) and shape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured work-surface.
    4. Place the balls side-by-side in a greased loaf pan so that you have 3 short rows, each with two balls of dough.
    5. Do the same with the other two pieces of brioche dough.
    6. Cover the pans with plastic and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
    7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190deg C).
    8. Lightly brush each loaf with egg wash, taking care not to let the glaze dribble into the pan (it will impair the dough's rise in the oven).
    9. Use the ends of a pair of very sharp scissors to snip a cross in each ball of dough.
    10. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 200°F (93degC).
    11. Cool to room temperature on a rack.
    1. STORING: If you are not going to use or bake the dough after it's second rise, deflate it, wrap it airtight, and store it in the freezer.
    2. The dough can remain frozen for up to a month.
    3. Thaw the dough, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight and use it directly from the refrigerator.
    4. You could also use this dough to make the very finest sticky-buns you've ever eaten in your entire life, or you can press it out in a deep dish pizza pan, cover it with cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar, the put fruit slices or berries over it for a very upscale"fruit pizza".

      Monday 14 November 2011

      Lapis Prune Ice-cream

                I wanted to bake  Lapis Prune Ice Cream for Eid last week but only managed to make Nona Manis Steamed Cake. Two days after Eid, I used up the rest of the tray of  eggs to make this cake. Actually, I've been baking this delicious cake every Aidil Fitri for the last seven years, thanks to my friend, Haslita, who never fails to place an order every year. 

                I found this recipe in a local Malay newspaper. It's by the renowned baking instructor Aini Salim.  It can also be found in her book, Hidangan Hari Raya Dari Singapura. This time round, I made some changes to the colour & flavour of the cake. In the original recipe, the batter is divided into 2 parts & green & red colouring are added to each part but I divided it into 3 parts & added vanilla paste, pandan paste & green colour & cocoa  powder into each part. Unfortunately, I could only taste the vanilla, not the pandan & cocoa. So next time I make this, I need to make some adjustments. I also did not slice the prunes as instructed in the recipe. Instead, I arranged whole prunes on every alternate layer. Next time, I'll just stick to the recipe.

      Lapis Prune Ice Cream

      500g butter
      4 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
      1 tsp banana essence (I replaced this with 1/2 tsp vanilla paste.)

      5 whole eggs
      17 egg yolk
      230g castor sugar.
      1 tbsp ovelette

      150g top flour (I used cake flour.)
      50g vanilla ice cream powder

      1 tsp vanilla paste
      1 tbsp cocoa powder + 1 tbsp canola oil -mixed thoroughly ( I'll use 2 tbsp of cocoa & 2 tbsp of oil in future.)
      1 tsp pandan paste + a few drops of green colouring (I'll use 2 tsp in future.)

      300g prune (sliced thin & leave some whole prunes for top layer)

        1. Prepare a 10x7x3" pan. Line & grease the bottom part only.
        2. Combine A & whip until light & creamy.
        3. Combine B in a bowl & beat on high speed until light & fluffy for about 8 minutes.
        4. Add A into B & mix, preferably,  using a hand whisk.
        5. Fold in C & mix thoroughly, but do not overmix.
        6. Divide batter into 3 parts. Add vanilla paste into 1 part, pandan paste & green colouring into another & cocoa & oil mixture into the last. Mix each of the parts until well blended.
        7. Pour 2 ladles (about 100g) of cocoa batter & spread the batter evenly. Bake using top fire only, until cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven &, using a lapis cake presser, press the top layer gently. Pop any bubbles that may form.
        8. Then  pour another 2 ladles of cocoa batter, spread batter & sprinkle sliced prunes evenly. Then bake. Continue with the rest of the cocoa batter until finish, sprinkling sliced prune every alternate layer.
        9. Once done with the cocoa batter, continue with pandan batter followed by plain batter. There are 5-6 layers for each flavour. For the final plain layer, place whole prunes instead of sliced ones.
        10. Finally, once the final layer is cooked, bake the cake using top & bottom oven set at 180deg C for about 10 minutes.
        11. Remove cake from baking pan  & leave to cool on a cooling rack before cutting.

        Sunday 6 November 2011

        Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha....

                     I woke up at 5 this morning without the alarm clock's help. I think I had too much sleep.... The early morning pour could be a factor too. As I peered through the window & saw the heavy rain, I couldn't help but wondered which part of Singapore was flooding. I was also hoping the rain would not drag too long as the Aidil Adha prayers & qurban ceremony would be carried out..... Alhamdullillah, the rain stopped just after 6 when the clouds started to  clear up, giving way to the  rising sun. What a beautiful & cool morning.......

                  Good thing I woke up early.  I managed to make Nona Manis Steamed Cake this morning although I planned to make this & another cake yesterday. I was too tired to bake anything yesterday, after waking up at 4 in the morning & was up & about the whole day. This recipe was shared by a Warna listerner  a few years ago but I didn't note down her name or which programme she was on. I just scribbled the recipe while I was waiting for somebody in the car. I've also made some changes to the method.

        Nona Manis Steamed Cake
        Source: Warna 94.5, Mediacorp Radio.


        For burnt sugar syrup:
        400g  coarse granulated sugar
        450g water

        250 butter
        1 tsp vanilla essence
        300g granulated sugar
        3 whole eggs
        3 tsp bicarbonate of  soda
        500g plain flour - sifted together with the bicarbonate of  soda
        200ml evaporated milk
        burnt sugar syrup

        1. Grease a 10 x 10 inch baking pan & line base & side of pan with baking paper. Set aside.
        2. To prepare burnt sugar syrup, heat sugar slowly in clean & dry saucepan or skillet, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely melted. When melted sugar turns dark brown &  frothy, add water slowly & carefully, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
        3. Whip butter, granulated sugar & vanilla until creamy. 
        4. Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
        5. Fold in flour alternately with evaporated milk.
        6. Finally pour in burnt sugar syrup & mix until well blend.
        7. Pour batter into prepared pan. 
        8. Lay a sheet of foil on the work surface & cover with a sheet of baking paper. Make a large pleat in the middle.
        9. Place, paper-side-down, across top of baking pan & tie string securely aroung rim of pan. Then adjust the pleat gently such that  it forms a dome shape.
        10. Place on a steamer & steam for 2 hours.
        11. After 2 hours, remove pan from steamer. Then remove foil & baking paper. Leave pan aside for about 15 minutes.
        12. Remove cake from pan by inventing it on a wire rack & slowly remove paper lining. Leave cake to cool completely before cutting & serving.
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